A Little Bit Too Familiar: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Posted May 9, 2017 by Nereyda/ 13 Comments

A Little Bit Too Familiar: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda BellezaEmpress of a Thousand Skies (Empress of a Thousand Skies, #1)
by Rhoda Belleza
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Published by Razorbill
Genres: YA, Sci-Fi
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 9 hrs and 13 mins
Pages: 314
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three-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes, Audiobook Received for Review

CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA'AN WANTS VENGEANCE.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne - and her revenge.

ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding - even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee's name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown's Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

ARC received for review purposes, Audiobook Received for Review in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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This book may be a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ kind of book. While I enjoyed the book and I was never bored while listening to it, there just just quite a few things that kept me from really getting into the book. I think my biggest issue might have been the narator. Don’t get me wrong, I loooove Rebecca Soler as a narrator, in fact, she was the main reason why I decided to listen to the audio over reading the book. But I think I’ve gotten so used to associating her voice with the Lunar Chronicle audiobooks/characters, that it was so hard for me to forget that I wasn’t listening to one of those books. Especially since the book is set in space and all that.  I normally listen to audiobooks that have been narrated by narrators I’ve already heard many many times in previous books and I’ve never really had that issue. But in this case, other than two other audiobooks, I’ve heard Soler’s voice for Fairest, Cinder, Scarlett, Cress, Winter and Skies above, all narrating the same world and characters. It was hard for me to separate her ‘voice’ from that world.

Another thing that really kept me from really connecting with the book, was that it all felt a little bit too familiar to other books I’ve read. Lots of pieces reminded me of Stars Above and pretty much any other YA book set in space. I know no book is unique, but when there are so many similarities (not that I don’t think they were intentional) it’s hard to distinguish which story is which. In fact, just now when I sat down to write my review, I had to go read the synopsis again just to refresh my memory because I was confusing it with a few other books I’ve read…

The romance, or lack thereof, was another sore point for me. The majority of the book, I was expecting the two different narrators to eventually fall in love, but that’s not the case. There is a budding romance, which I’m sure will be explored more in book two, but it just wasn’t between the two narrators like I expected, especially since the summary makes it seem as if the two main characters will actually be together to try to save the world when in fact they ever even meet. I guess her definition of together is doing the same thing at the same time even though they are apart the whole time. I kept hoping for them to finally meet and I was expecting sparks would fly then, but not only do they never meet but Aly has his own love interest. It was just all very misleading. Overall, although the book wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very memorable for me either. It was very predictable and at times a little bit slow and…boring? I enjoyed the narration a lot, even if it did confuse me.

Audiobook Sample:

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Nereyda

Nereyda

Nereyda is a 30 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else.

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  • Sorry this wasn’t a hit for you. I have some narrators that I associate with a certain series, too, and when I hear them narrating another book, I’m sort of confused.

  • I cant totally see Rebecca’s narration being some major devja vu!

  • I would be bothered by the lack of romance especially when it’s expected to happen. Narrators can really make or break a book for me and it sucks that you love this narrator but couldn’t really connect. I totally get what you mean, though. I was looking forward to this book but I may not read it now. More interesting books out there, right? Lovely review!

  • Never good when boring can be used to describe a book!! Sorry this wasn’t better. Great review!!

  • I rarely enjoy a book lacking in romance so that might be a deterrent for me. This sounds like it missed a lot of things you typically enjoy in a story. Boo.

  • Hmm, this sounds a little ho-hum. The plot sounds cookie cutter and from what you’ve said, the romance is pretty lack lustre too. I think I’ll be passing on this one!

  • I’m sorry the narrator didn’t work out for you! The book sounds “just okay” so I probably won’t be picking it up. I’m happy to see that you at least somewhat enjoyed it though 🙂

  • I was very excited for this book but sorry to hear you didn’t love it! I have heard some fairly mixed things about this where some people ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT and others absolutely hated it so not sure where I stand in terms of whether I’m reading this or not yet! But thanks for the review!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

  • GAH YESSSS. I am SO GLAD you feel this way, I was starting to think that I was the only person who was kind of “meh” about it. Like, it was highly recommended by several friends, so I was thinking maybe the problem was me, but it did feel so familiar, you nailed it! (I’d just been going around saying “Idk, it felt kind of blah sometimes” bwhaha so yeah, you are clearly better at the words.) I also agree about the predictability- it was easy to know what was coming next. I DID like the characters though, but I don’t know if I care enough to read the next book. Great review!!

  • I’ve seen several reviewers who’ve felt the same way as you, which is why I still haven’t gotten around to reading this and don’t know that I will. I can totally understand your issues with the narrator. It’s easy to begin associating a certain narrator with a particular series when she’s done so many! The lack of romance is definitely an issue for me. :/ I’m glad you were still able to enjoy this even if you didn’t love it!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  • I think it’s pretty much expect now that if you have duel points of view that you’re almost guaranteed a romance. It sounds cliche but going by the misleading synopsis I would have thought the same. Sometimes it needs that added intensity and emotion or I just don’t feel it either. I don’t mind books the reuse similar themes and scenarios for their storylines but this might be doing to much for me. Sorry you could have enjoyed this more Nere but brilliant review <3

  • Wow, I didn’t realise that the two narrators don’t meet! I definitely feel like that is implied with the summary. Now I’m all kinds of confused about this book. It was one I was waiting on anyway but now it’ll be one I grab from the library if possible. I hate when a book feels a bit too similar to other reads in the genre. I may not be intentional, after all, sometimes it’s difficult to have true originality when so much has already been done, but, by the sounds of it, there wasn’t that one stand out thing which made this book great. Normally a book may have a lot of similarities and then you have the characters being great or a really great plot twist. Just something to burn it into your memory a little bit so it sucks you didn’t enjoy it more. I’ll keep my fingers crossed my experience will be a bit different as I intend to read it rather than get an audiobook, sometimes the experience between reading and listening can make a difference.

  • I’ve been hearing some mixed things about this one. I’m not a huge Sci-Fi reader anyway, so after reading your review I think I’ll skip it. I would also expect the two narrators to meet or fall for each other. So I think that would annoy me!